Religion, Politics and Gender Roles in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale (Research Paper Sample)
Religion, politics and Gender Roles in Margeret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale
In this piece of work I plan to examine religion and expose it as the source that pressure and influence politics and gender roles in Margaret Atwood's The Hanmaid's Tale.
Religion seems to be a main factor, if not the main factor, in guiding the gender roles that society delegates to each sex. We can prove this by analyzing politics in “The Handmaid's Tale” societal structure and compare it to the current political system in our society and the way it affects gender roles. We will focus on religion and the way it has infected and manipulate politics and gender roles.
You Are What You Eat: The Politics of Eating in the Novels of Margaret Atwood
Twentieth Century Literature
Vol. 41, No. 3 (Autumn, 1995), pp. 349-368
Published by: Duke University Press
Stable URL: http://www(dot)jstor(dot)org(dot)proxy(dot)libraries(dot)rutgers(dot)edu/stable/441857
Page Count: 20
Identity, Complicity, and Resistance in The Handmaid's Tale
PETER G. STILLMAN and S. ANNE JOHNSON
Vol. 5, No. 2 (1994), pp. 70-86
Published by: Penn State University Press
Stable URL: http://www(dot)jstor(dot)org(dot)proxy(dot)libraries(dot)rutgers(dot)edu/stable/20719314
Page Count: 17
Rereading Atwood after the Taliban
World Literature Today
Vol. 76, No. 3/4 (Summer - Autumn, 2002), pp. 74-75
Published by: Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma
Stable URL: http://www(dot)jstor(dot)org(dot)proxy(dot)libraries(dot)rutgers(dot)edu/stable/40157596
Page Count: 2
Literature and Language
24 October 2017
The Handmaid's Tale
There is a Handmaid named Offred who lives in a state that is both totalitarian and theocratic in the United States of America. There are elite couples in their society that have a hard time bearing a child, therefore being assigned a handmaid. Due to this practice, there are themes in the story that are worth discussing. In this piece of work, examining religion and exposing it as the source that influences politics and gender roles in The Handmaid's Tale are the aim of the paper.
Religion seems to play a main factor in assigning the gender roles that society gives to men and women. It can be proven that, by doing an analysis of politics in The Handmaid's Tale, the societal structure can be compared to today's political system and its impact on gender roles. Reading The Handmaid's Tale without knowing the gender issues and feminism aspects is almost impossible because these are what the novel focuses on. The author is known for her views of feminism, but she keeps an open mind. According to Parker, one of the political views that is obvious in her novels is the image of women eating and she sees eating as political because her definition of politics is “who is entitled to what to whom with impunity; who profits by it; and who therefore eats what” (1995). This is one of the indications why women are named victims in the society mentioned in the story, specifically in the Republic of Gilead which reflects how she sees a lot of the inequalities women face in the world. The Handmaids in Gilead are examples of female subjection, and they need to eradicate their identity because they need to use false names when facing the men who will be in control of them.
The Gilead is an example of a fundamentalist Christian because Margaret Atwood admits that it is a society with a lot of similarities to Puritannical New England, but imposed with the rights of modern day Christians – those who drift away from the Christian lifestyle are punished in by hanging them in front of a crowd, and women are to behave as docile and domesticated humans. The ritual of when the Handmaid needs to lie down facing up on top of her controller's wife and hold the hands of the wife while performing sex with the man, the ceremony of birth, the wife feigning the labor as the Handmaid is the one bearing the child, can all be read in a story found in the Bible, specifically in Genesis. In the novel, there are little evidences linking it to the bible that turn up from time to time and the classes in society got its basis on tales in the Bible.
Gilead is a terrifying authoritarian society because of the religious absolutism that occurs. It is obvious that when the religious laws are promulgated, there is no way of refusing it because there is no political process that can be used to argue with it. The people living in this society never have an election and no one dares to oppose the authorities. Therefore, voting is non-existent, so the citizens have no choice but to stay quiet about the situation.
While the novel was being written, it was Ronald Raegan who was in charge of the White House and the Christians were becoming more vocal and powerful in the USA. There is a lot of conservatism in their practices and The Handmaid's Tale is an exaggeration of their values and they are merged into the Puritannical ways of Gilead so that the society becomes more credible to others. Atwood remembers keeping articles written about the failing birth rates, policies of repressing contraception and abortion, and even plastic cards.
There is a part in the novel when Offred attempts to escape with her family, but they were caught and she does not know what others...
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